Lesson Plans

Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless: Brain Power!

Created by : 
National Institute on Drug Abuse

In this module students learn how nicotine and alcohol cause a number of negative effects on the body and brain, ranging from mild symptoms to addiction. Students will also learn why these drugs are illegal for children and teens. Following the lesson, students will complete a puzzle competition as part of the Challenge series. Additional activities include a mock trial on the legal drinking age, an experiment, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • 1 step-by-step module
  • Resources for students
  • Parents guides
  • Online activities
  • CD-ROM activities (online version)

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Understanding of how nicotine disrupts neurotransmission
  • Understanding of how alcohol use may harm the brain and the body
  • Knowledge of how alcohol can intensify the effect of other drugs
  • Definition of addiction and its basis in the brain

Time / Duration: 

  • 1 class period


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Printer/copier for student handouts

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • National Science Education Standards


  • English